Shanghai has installed several multifunction street lampposts fitted with touch screens and surveillance cameras that, among other things, will provide free Wi-Fi, area traffic conditions and charging stations for electric vehicles.
Fifteen lamps, each 8 meters tall, have been installed along Dagu Road in Jing'an district. Each of the street lamps is equipped with an emergency button that provides immediate access to the city's public services, including police and firefighters. The surveillance camera on the post will record any activity in the area, Wenhui Daily in Shanghai reported. When serious traffic congestion or public hazards occur, the street lamp's radio will broadcast evacuation and emergency information and instructions.
"The posts have been designed to serve the purpose of public service and safety as well as energy efficiency," said Lin Tao, deputy director of the 50th Research Institute of China Electronic Technology Group Corporation. The institute worked on the overall design. The project integrated existing resources from all parties involved and focused on co-operation, he said.
For example, the lampposts' environment monitoring devices will send data to the local environmental protection authorities. They can detect environmental incidents, such as chemical leaks or spills in the surrounding area and facilitate the response by the proper authorities.
"I'm very interested in going to Dagu Road to see the lamp's functionality myself," said Meng Haixing, an urban planning doctoral candidate at Tongji University. "As long as the residents nearby think it's convenient and affordable, it's fine." He also expressed interest in the operational details of the project.
Some residents shared a different point of view.
Lei Youzhi, who has a background in computer science, said most of the functions may be of little practical use.
"Few people would stand beside a lamppost for a long time in order to enjoy the free Wi-Fi," Lei said. "And most people would use cellphones to call for help in emergencies."
"The electric charger may be useful, as more people are considering buying an electric or hybrid car," said Chen Yanrong, who passes the lamps every day on her way to work.
"Elderly people may benefit from the emergency button should they lose their way or suddenly feel unwell on the street," she added.
Lin said the project is a trial to settle on the best configuration. He expects to extend the trial to other areas across the city starting in the first half of next year. Standards such as the structure and functions of the lamps as well as their locations will be established based on the outcome of the trial.